Kurt Kalata is an ardent video gamer from New Jersey. He has founded websites such as The Castlevania Dungeon, which focuses on Konami's long running, vampire slaying series, and Hardcore Gaming 101, which gives comprehensive reviews focusing on the history of gaming. His most recent book is Bitmap Books' A Guide to Japanese Role-Playing Games. In addition to his own sites and books, his writings have appeared in Retro Gamer magazine, The Overstreet Guide to Video Game Collecting, and at 1up, Siliconera, and Gamasutra.

Jonathan Kaharl is a Texan and long time contributor to Hardcore Gaming 101, specializing mainly in indie and adventure games. He most recently edited the second volume of Hardcore Gaming 101's The Guide to Retro Indie Games book series, having written the largest selection of included pieces. Has helped covered franchises such as Doom, Devil May Cry, Syberia, and much more for the website. A few of his pieces have been included in previous collections, most recently the eight volume of the Hardcore Gaming 101 digest, The Bride of Retro Horror, with Doctor Hauzer and Overblood 2. Most of his work has been done among other enthusiasts and on a variety of personal blogs.

HG101 Presents: Contra and Other Konami Classics by Kurt Kalata

Let's attack aggressively! Contra and Other Konami Classics, brought to you by long-standing retro video game website Hardcore Gaming 101, includes a complete rundown of all of the games in Konami's classic Contra series, ranging from its arcade and NES roots, to its modern day mobile incarnations. Also included is an extensive look at the very popular (in Japan) Ganbare Goemon / Legend of the Mystical Ninja series, as well as many of Konami's 8-bit Famicom and Nintendo Entertainment System releases.


Even if this wasn't your introduction to the legendary Konami code, as it was mine, Contra was arguably the NES game where it most came in handy. Kalata gives a wide array of Konami classics their due, with the entry on Contra being an expected standout in a standout gallery of great games and great writing for great games. – David L. Craddock, curator, StoryBundle



  • "Hardcore Gaming 101 books are a treat. Packed with game details, screen shots, and game pedigrees, the retro gamer and collector can appreciate the depth and even-keeled writing. Do note that the subtitle: "...and other Konami Classics" means this book is not entirely about the Contra series. There is coverage on related Konami titles, many of which are obscure. What's nice is that you can discover some games of the same ilk."

    – Amazon Review
  • "If you've purchased any HG101 book before, you're getting the same quality - both written and in book materials - as you have before. If this is your first one, all hg101 books are fairly deep dives into their subject matter. Well edited, heavy on fact and light on opinion.... In general, the best gaming reading you can get. This book covers Konami very well and you'll be well versed after reading. Highly recommended."

    – Amazon Review



Devoted to Konami series - The Castlevania Dungeon and The Contra HQ.

Before I left for college, I had grand plans for an expansive site called Konami World, focusing on many of their other series as well. Unfortunately, due to real life responsibilities, it never quite got off the ground. (It never went public either, at least back in the day, but it can be found archived at http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/konamiworld/ frames.html, preserving the bad 90s web design and terrible teenage writing.)

This is also the third Konami book that I've published here at HG101 ? after the Castlevania and Konami Shooter entries ? I've always envisioned this series as an evolution of the old Konami World project. They were one of the best developers through much of the 80s and 90s, and even though they've almost entirely given up on game development as of this writing, it hasn't stopped us from reminiscing about their glory days.

The two features of this book are Contra and Mystical Ninja (AKA Ganbare Goemon). The Contra article is essentially a total rewrite of The Contra HQ, much like the Castlevania book was a revamped version of The Castlevania Dungeon. The Ganbare Goemon article has been part of the HG101 site for a long time, but it needed some polishing up. Goemon in particular I have a strong attachment too, as it was one of the first series that I began importing, along with TwinBee and Parodius, back when I first mod-chipped my PlayStation and tore the tabs out of my SNES cartridge slot. It's a massive series, and only a few were ever released in North America. I have fond memories of printing out hiragana and katakana tables, and studying them in my high school cafeteria, while trying to puzzle through those games' menus.

The rest of the content is rounded out by coverage of most of Konami's NES library, including many Japanese exclusives, plus an assortment of other arcade games, and a few other classics, like the Rocket Knight/Sparkster series. There's still a lot more Konami stuff to cover ? maybe we'll finally get some Metal Gear and Silent Hill coverage for the next volume!